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Venezuelans will need a visa to enter Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced that starting in the middle of next year, Venezuelans should update their visa to enter the Dutch Caribbean. The measure was released after several months of consultations with the prime ministers of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.

The temporary visa requirement is part of a larger package of measures being prepared, Blok said in his letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

Minister Blok is also responsible for the Dutch Caribbean countries in matters related to foreign relations, who explained that the total package aims to ensure the trafficking of people in Venezuela in a responsible and regulated manner.

The package also includes the introduction of a travel authorization system (ESTA) and an advance passenger information system (APIS), as well as pre-boarding controls, the Curacao Chronicle newspaper published.

The Dutch Caribbean countries are preparing several of the measures for which they will receive support from the Netherlands.

“Taking into account the necessary preparation time, the visa requirement will be introduced in approximately six months, in the second quarter of 2020. For manageability reasons, the number of visa applications for the Dutch Caribbean will be maximized at 8,000 per year” declared Blok.

The implementation of a visa requirement for Venezuelans traveling to the Dutch Caribbean conforms to the Kingdom Visa Law and will only apply to the Dutch Caribbean. The decision has no effect on the entry of Venezuelans into the Schengen territory of the European Union, he clarifies.

According to Blok, the situation in Venezuela has deteriorated further, so regular migration has increased in the region in general. Countries near Venezuela, such as Peru, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Chile have already taken measures, including a visa requirement, he said.

The visa requirement for the Dutch Caribbean and other measures will contribute to a more effective form of supervision in passenger traffic, but it is not a completely safe solution and the risk of illegal migration by sea is still present, the minister said.

Supervision of the extradition of Venezuelan people who remain illegally on the islands remains of great importance to mitigate migration pressure, Blok said. However, discussions will continue with the Venezuelan authorities about the mutual responsibility of regulating human trafficking between Venezuela and the Dutch Caribbean islands.

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